MUSIC IN THE WIND
Translated into English by PJ Hillery
ALEXANDER THE CARTER AND THE BOY
IN THE IMERETIAN CAP
Alexander had a big ox cart and big red oxen were yoked to this big cart. Mo-tor cars of the time, apparently, could not take such heavy loads as could Alexan-der’s ox cart. With warped heads and necks the oxen would come in through the gate, they would bring in the cart rattling and creaking. Red bricks leaned beauti-fully to one side on the body of the cart, sometimes roof tiles: they were red, too. Alexander the Carter was a working man, he had a good appetite for food, he probably also liked his drink. On one of the cart’s chassis planks hung a soap horn, on the other, to the left, a wine gourd which sometimes apparently contained wa-ter and sometimes watered-down wine… Hit by sunstroke, the carter would rest his lips on the gourd and would cool down his innards with ordinary wine, he would drain it in a single gulp and with the back of his large hand he would dry his lips to the accompaniment of “khio, khio”, and with the swish of an ash stick. You should have seen how he cleaned a large bowl full of beans, a lump of maize-bread dunked in soup didn’t suffice for one mouthful. This Alexander had a son, probably two or three years older than me. He used sometimes to lead the oxen, he was wearing short boots, trousers stuffed into col-ourful stockings and a flapping coarse shirt that summer. On his head he wore an Imeretian cap or something similar. He had a busy, troubled gaze and a daft gaze of sorts. He said hello to his elders and that was it, no other sound escaped from his mouth. He would stare at me personally without batting an eyelid, he would tell me nothing bad and nothing good, he would straighten the oxen’s twines when they were unloading the cart, and he would still be looking at me; behind that inane curiosity, I now think, was concealed an unconscious jealousy that I was not re acting, or hatred. I didn’t want to be in his sight and I couldn’t leave the circle. I was afraid not of him, but because of him, if the devil also knew, because of something... (See PDF)
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